Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Self-assembly generates more versatile scaffolds for crystal growth

01.09.2004


Self-organizing synthetic molecules originally used for gene therapy may have applications as templates and scaffolds for the production of inorganic materials. Using electrostatic interactions between oppositely charged molecules as the binding force, scientists are learning how to organize these synthetic molecules into more versatile complexes with large and controllable pore sizes.



“By investigating the fundamental design rules for the control of self-assembled supramolecular structures, we can now organize large functional molecules into nanoscopic arrays,” said Gerard Wong, a professor of materials science and engineering and of physics at the University of Illinois. Wong and his colleagues report their latest experimental results in the September issue of the journal Nature Materials.

“We showed that the self-assembly of charged membranes and oppositely charged polymers into structures can be understood in terms of some simple rules,” said Wong, senior author of the paper. “We then applied those rules and demonstrated that we could organize molecules into regular arrays with pore sizes ten times larger than in previous DNA-membrane complexes.”


Early self-assembled DNA-membrane structures consisted of periodic stacks of alternating layers of negatively charged DNA “rods” and positively charged lipid membranes. The pores between the DNA rods could be used to package individual ions, which can in turn be crystallized. This work was published last year by Wong’s group, and was featured as a “Chemistry Highlight of 2003” by Chemical & Engineering News.

But generalizing this idea to larger pores was difficult. In previous work, Wong and colleagues showed that actin, a protein found in muscle cells, also reacts with lipid membranes to create ordered structures. The actin-membrane assemblies, however, consisted of the membrane sandwiched between layers of actin, with little room to house or organize other molecules.

In the latest work, the researchers substituted a rod-shaped virus for the DNA. While having a diameter close to that of actin, the virus has a charge density comparable to DNA. The resulting virus-membrane complexes have pore sizes about 10 times larger than the DNA-membrane complexes, and can be used to hold and organize large functional molecules.

“Even though these supramolecular systems were originally designed for gene therapy, we’ve shown that they can be used as templates for organizing other molecules,” Wong said. “An example would be the biomineralization of inorganic nanocrystals, in a way analogous to bone formation.”

To produce bone, nature uses organic molecules to organize inorganic components that become mineralized through additional chemical reactions. Scientists want to create synthetic molecules that work as nanostructured scaffolds of biomolecules and perform tasks ranging from non-viral gene therapy to biomolecular templating and nanofabrication.

“Ultimately, we would like to have designer molecules that do exactly what we want,” Wong said. “Right now we are still elucidating the rules for making these scaffolds and their interactions with inorganic components. It will take some time to move from fundamental science to supramolecular engineering.”

Co-authors of the paper with Wong are Illinois graduate students Lihua Yang, Hongjun Liang, Thomas Angelini, John Butler and Robert Coridan; and Brown University physics professor Jay Tang. The work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

James E. Kloeppel | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.uiuc.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tune your radio: galaxies sing while forming stars
21.02.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms
17.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>